Eat & Run: Coveside focuses on coffee and community, but also serves tasty food
Coveside Coffee at Woodfords Corner is a pleasant stroll from my house, and I love to walk around, which is why I have been watching the place grow for over a year now.
First, I noticed with pleasure signs announcing that he was coming. Then I looked at the plain white cloak, which had been vacant for two years, got a makeover: the house received a coat of crisp blue paint. The front door, newly in an attractive orange hue, has been changed to a pandemic-friendly passage window. Daffodils have been planted. South Portland artist Tessa Greene O’Brien covered the exterior of the street-facing home with an eye-catching and whimsical mural. Outdoor tables and planters transformed a depressing parking lot into an inviting spot for coffee and baking.
Honestly, all about Coveside, opened in May by husband and wife team Andy Nesheim and Zara Bohan, invites, friendly owners themselves, who you will most likely find working at the counter, to the soft interior with its tables. mismatched antiques and grandmother’s armchairs. Alas, you can’t sit there, for now anyway; when the number of COVID in Maine began to rise in August, the couple finished sipping and eating inside. But there are Huga heated seat cushions to help make dining on the deck palatable this time of year.
Coveside has a small but appealing menu of scones, cookies, croissants, hand pies, yogurt parfaits, quiches and more (the latest addition to the menu, in time for Hanukkah, is knishes from Benreuben’s Knishery. ) and, of course, coffee and other hot dishes. and cold drinks. I visited on a raw December day, so the daily soup, white sweet potato-ginger ($ 5 for 8 ounces), was the obvious choice. Made by Nesheim, it was creamy (but didn’t have cream) with a warming kick of ginger root. It came in a blue coffee mug, accompanied by two thick slices of fluffy bread and wheat from Solo Cucina Market in South Portland, one of the many good local vendors that stock the coffee.
The soup would have made a nice lunch on its own, but I couldn’t resist the salad of the day – beet, feta, and pumpkin seed farro ($ 8.50), the kind of dish I often cook myself – even but that I was glad I didn’t have to. It was exactly what it needed, with chewy farro, salty feta giving a boost to ground beets, all nicely dressed.
After eating, I went inside for a chai latte ($ 4.75) and to browse the shelves of mouth-watering local produce – t-shirts, pottery, children’s books, honey, teapots and coffee mugs. Bohan said they were surprised at how well the products are selling. I wasn’t. It’s a great selection, and barista Rosie Alleva did an amazing job with the labels. Like good department labels in a wine merchant, they made me want to grab the items described.
Nesheim and Bohan live and raise their two young children in the neighborhood, which is not surprising given Coveside’s obvious community spirit. The couple occasionally hold pop-up weekend markets in their parking lot with local crafts, food trucks, and arts activities for kids. On Wednesdays, they offer after-school specials: Any child who buys a cookie gets a free glass of milk. The logo shows a stork delivering a cup of coffee (or is it a version of Maine with a great blue heron?)
Ask about the coffee vendors and Bohan has a kind word for everyone. Take this signature commentary on Deer Isle 44 North, which supplies Coveside’s coffee beans. “We love them, great coffee and great people,” Bohan said.
Even the decision to close indoor restaurants was meant as a family-friendly policy, Bohan said, noting the growing number of young families in the neighborhood. “In a pandemic, what does“ family ”mean? To us, it seems part of it is to maintain the masking and being safe, ”she said.
“Honestly, the community part came first,” said Bohan, who did student programs at Bates College (her husband was a teacher). “The cafe was the vehicle for the community part. It is such a gourmet city. There are so many amazingly talented foodies. We are not necessarily the greedy person. We are the neighborhood person. She paused and laughed, “I probably shouldn’t downplay the foodservice elements of our business. “
Rest assured, the food and coffee are excellent.